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Politics

Mitsotakis Says COVID-19 Vaccine Could Let Nightclubs, Bars Reopen

ATHENS – After admitting he waited too long to bring a second lockdown to slow the spread of COVID-19 and blamed young people for going to nightclubs and bars he let stay open, Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis said they could be opened again once a vaccine is distributed.

Speaking at the 31st Greek Economic Summit, he also said that restaurants and retail stores will reopen gradually with tighter restrictions after the lifting of a first lockdown in the spring and allowing tourists into the country saw a second wave spurred by people ignoring or defying health protocols such as wearing masks.

“We cannot have people crowding in bars until we have the vaccines,” he said, without clarifying whether that would still be a risk. “Every lockdown has consequences on the economy, but our priority has been to save lives,” he added, at the same time he's trying to save a battered economy.

In November he told Parliament that, “We tried many plans but they were betrayed by the behavior of some people,” as the second wave was growing, and he imposed a second less severe shutdown.

“We know today what were the sources of the outbreaks. We are saying this to explain to society that these behaviors create a public health problem for everyone. The main source for the spread was the entertainment of young people,” he added.

Greece's Gross Domestic Product of 165.46 billion euros ($200.3 billion) is on a course to shrink some 10 percent this year, analyses have shown, and grow only 0.9 percent in 2021, no real recovery expected until at least 2022.

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